[USA-ANTIGUA & BARBUDA REPORT CARD]Some of the defending wasn’t up to par, but the Americans got the necessary goals as the USA opened the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying by beating Antigua & Barbuda, 3-1, Friday night in Tampa.
USA Player Ratings
RATING PLAYER (CLUB/COUNTRY)
5 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG).
He was seldom disturbed for most of the match, then snuffed the visitor’s fleeting hopes when he denied Peter Byers in the final minutes to maintain a two-goal cushion.
6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER) 83/2.
He got forward on regular intervals to add numbers in midfield and seldom had trouble containing the opposition’s efforts down his side. He hit some crosses early that tested the back line and in the second half pushed up further to play more balls to feet.
5 Clarence Goodson (Brondby/DEN) 30/3.
A strong game in the air at both ends and thwarting Antigua & Barbuda’s best chance of the first half with a sliding block increases his stature.
6 Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO) 105/13.
Scored on the rebound of a saved header to give the Americans an early 1-0 lead, and after moving to left back early in the second half, cut back a pass that Herculez Gomez drilled off the crossbar. His positioning and marking were at times lax but he recovered on most occasions.
6 Jose Torres (Pachuca/MEX) 18/0.
As an emergency choice at left back, he played a spirited and smart 57 minutes mostly in midfield before suffering a left ankle contusion that forced him to the sidelines. Crossing was inconsistent but he tormented Antigua & Barbuda constantly by getting down the flank.
7 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 142/49.
Donovan worked some great combinations with Clint Dempsey and other teammates, one of which yielded the penalty kick that Dempsey drove home for the second goal. He also sweetly swerved the corner kick to produce first U.S. goal and menaced constantly by his pace and guile in the attacking third.
6 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 36/1.
He got involved offensively when the situations allowed, and his excellent chipped ball down the middle set Donovan clear for a shot that was saved. He clipped another ball in the second half that forced a desperation clearance for a corner. Ranged from side to side to blunt most of what the opposition attempted through the center and held that spot in the second half as the U.S. pushed more players forward.
5 Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona/ITA) 68/10.
A few listless passes in the first half went awry and he reacted slowly to the quick free kick that generated A&B’s best chance of the opening period. His attacking influence increased in the second half and before he and Gomez overpowered their foes to generate the third U.S. goal, he glided down the right flank to set up a good chance for Dempsey and tested the keeper himself with a hard shot.
6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke/GER) 20/2.
As early as the fifth minute, he pressed forward into the right-wing position vacated by Donovan, and that threat eventually opened up big spaces' for the Americans. He muscled opponents off the ball and played enough passes forward to keep them off-balance. In addition to his ball to Donovan, two other balls through the middle required last-ditch clearances.
6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 86/26.
He looked sharp and dangerous for much of the game, and after a quiet period raised his energy in the minutes leading up to the third U.S. goal. He drilled a low shot that required the best save of the night from Molvin James, and his thumped penalty kick easily beat the keeper.
7 Herculez Gomez (Santos/MEX) 12/4.
Busy and clever for the entire match, he got a just reward for all his work by netting the clinching goal from a sharp angle in the 72nd minute. His excellent near-post header resulted in the rebound that Bocanegra stuffed into the net, and when he wasn’t on the ball he was opening up space with his sharp runs. He also blasted a first-time shot off the crossbar from a ball cut back by the captain and nearly scored with a point-blank header.
3 Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon/POR) 66/6.
His missed tackle allowed Byers to score the goal that made the game close and he also stepped up late for a pass that provided Byers with another chance.
5 Jozy Altidore (AZ/NED) 48/13.
His nice feed from the right wing provided a clear chance for Dempsey.
4 Terence Boyd (Bor. Dortmund/GER) 4/0.
He didn’t see much of the ball during his late stint and gave it away too easily when he got it but did get off a shot that was blocked.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)